April 28, 2021
Florida Woman Pleads Guilty to Moving Company Scam Conspiracy
On April 28, 2021, Jessica Martin pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to conspiring in a racketeering enterprise which defrauded more than 1,800 individuals through moving companies located throughout the United States, valued at $1 million to $3.5 million in total. Beginning in or around February 2014, Martin participated in a scheme to defraud, extort, and steal from customers who hired certain moving companies to move their household goods. To obtain customers, the moving companies allegedly provided low binding estimates and promised to beat their competitors’ prices. According to the investigation, the company’s employees increased the price of the move after loading a customer’s goods onto the truck and held the goods hostage until the customer paid the inflated prices. They also overcharged customers, claiming that they moved more cubic feet of household goods than they actually loaded, and did not deliver some household goods at all. When customers complained, the conspirators would shut down the latest iteration of the moving company and open a new one—falsifying information about the owners’ identities in order to fraudulently receive operating licenses from FMCSA.
DOT-OIG is working this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.